Parshas Emor 5779
Candle Lighting Time: 7:53 pm
May 17, 2019
Volume 15 Issue 22
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Dvar Torah

True Holiness 
By Rabbi Yosef Prupas
                                                  
Orthodox Jews are often asked strange questions about the Jewish faith from those less knowledgeable in Judaism. Often these questions come from a basic misconception about religion. For many, being intensely religious means self-sacrifice. They may believe that the more they give up the more devout they are. The result is confusion of the basic tenets of other religions with Judaism and hence the strange questions. Most world religions follow Webster's definition of sacrifice, meaning "an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially: the killing of a victim on an altar." This leads some to infer that Judaism follows this approach as well.  From this week's parsha we learn otherwise.
 
The Torah this week introduces various laws pertaining to animal sacrifices. Among them is the prohibition to slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day and the obligation to wait until the calf is at least eight days old before one can use it as a sacrifice. What possible lesson is the Torah trying to convey with these commandments?
 
The Meshech Chochma explains that Hashem is revealing to us that the sacrifice process isn't based on the quantity of suffering.  It is not true that the more one gives up and the more one suffers for sake of a god, the more that individual has demonstrated his devotion to that deity/religion. An extreme example of this is human sacrifice.
 
Although there is a need to sacrifice animals to G-d (for reasons that are beyond the scope of this Dvar Torah), it needs to be done in the most humane way possible. To grab a young calf from its mother immediately after birth is an act of cruelty. In the same vein, killing a mother and its baby on the same day gives the impression, as explained by the Ramban, that one is willing to annihilate an entire species.  This is why Hashem required that sacrifices be taken only from animals usually found in abundance.
 
The Meshech Chochma goes on to say that similar lessons are found throughout Torah. We are commanded to sanctify the Kohein, give joy to the Levi, and benefit the Yisroel with one's wealth. We are warned not to sell a Jew, and if he is sold - to treat him with respect. We are obligated to sustain a ger toshav (permanent non-Jewish resident who according to some opinions has accepted upon himself the Noahide laws) and not to embarrass the Canaanite slave. We are not allowed to inflict pain upon an animal, and if we need to eat it, to slaughter it in the most humane way possible, etc. In sum, the Torah teaches us to show compassion, benevolence, and kindness, which are attributes of Hashem, and to follow in His ways.
 
The above lessons are so essential, for history is replete with examples of shocking rituals, depredation, and self infliction, in the name of religion. To counteract such notions the Torah concludes the aforementioned laws with the words, "You shall not defile My holy Name, and you shall sanctify Me..." The Torah is telling us that we are obligated to demonstrate compassion and sensitivity, and only by doing so can we sanctify the name of Hashem. It would be a disgrace for Hashem if we followed the "sacred" practices of other religions. May we take these lessons to heart, and let them impact our behavior, and as a result have a positive effect on our fellow Jews.  

 
Dvar Halacha
Chosamos:  
Chocolate  Milk

Part 4

Based on the Sunday morning Halacha Shiur 
given by Rabbi Y. Biberfeld, Rosh Kollel
Written by: Ovadia Gowar

The acronym in the Gemara representing the group of lenient foods regarding the required number of seals is "CHaMPaG". Food items in this group only require one chosam (seal). The "P" in "CHaMPaG" stands for "pas" (bread). Why does bread only require one chosam? The Shach answers that the only concern is that the kosher bread was swapped with pas akum (non-Jewish-made bread). Pas akum is rabbinically prohibited and therefore only one chosam is needed.
 
Based on this, the Shach says that in a place where the Jewish community has a minhag to be lenient with pas palter (commercially-made non-Jewish bread), kosher bread does not require a seal at all. Even if the original bread had been swapped out, the new bread would be pas palter, which is kosher anyway, so there is nothing to be concerned about.
 
One could argue that nowadays the assumption of the Shach that non-Jewish bread only presents a rabbinical problem does not necessarily hold true. In the Shach's day, all bread was made from water, flour and a couple of other basic ingredients that were all kosher. But today, other ingredients are also used and therefore it is plausible that the manufacturers could use something that would render the bread non-kosher even from a Torah perspective. So perhaps today, bread should require two seals and not just one?
 
In practice this doesn't seem to be the case. We see in many kosher supermarket sections that most sliced bread is sold with a mere plastic clamp. Or in the case of special products such as French bread, the bread is stored in a paper bag with no seal at all! Why is this not a problem?
 
In the case of French bread, there are poskim who rely on the Shach mentioned above to not require any seal because most communities in the US today do indeed rely on pas palter. Regarding the issue of non-kosher ingredients such as cheese or milk being used, this does not apply to French bread, because French bread has a standard recipe that does not allow for them.
 
Furthermore, each type of bakery bread, including sliced bread, has a unique appearance. So if someone swapped one type of commercial bread with another, it would be quite easy to spot this. In halacha, this use of visual recognition is called "tevias ha'ayin." Even though the Gemara in Bava Metzia says that tevias ayin is only reliable with a talmid chacham, that case is talking about a lost object. But with a food item, even a hedyot (a regular person) could recognize the difference and could rely on this to decide if the kosher bread he is buying is the real thing.
 
In addition, we are only concerned that the bread would be swapped when the non-Jew is neheneh b'chalipin, meaning that there is something for him to gain from swapping it. For example, if he only has stale non-kosher bread to eat, and we give him fresh kosher bread to watch, he may switch it with the stale bread. Or he may be hungry and not have access to any bread, so he will eat the kosher bread and then swap it later with non-kosher bread. However, in the context of a supermarket where many varieties are freshly-made bread are available, it is not clear how anyone would gain by switching the kosher bread with another bread.
 
In some kosher supermarkets, the mashgiach of the kosher section will also spend some time going around and ensuring that the kosher bread is not being switched with anything. This, together with this concepts mentioned above, helps us be confident that the kosher bread we are buying is really kosher.


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